Submitted by John M Moore
Grandma had the neatest old car. Actually, it wasn’t all that old at the time, it just seemed so to me when I was young.
It was a dark blue, 1951 Chevrolet, 2 door couple, a sweet ride with a fast back, sleek body style. I would probably have tried to think of a reason to drive it every day, but I remember her only driving it for essential trips- usually once a week to the grocery store, church or town for a weekly shopping trip.
The remainder of the time it sat in a block building across the road from her farm house. Sometimes if she didn’t make her weekly trip and it sat for an extended time, the battery would run down and my dad, would have to take his car and jump her battery with cables.
I cannot imagine not driving my car enough to keep the battery charged, but she always said she didn’t have time to be driving around. She had work to do.
Grandma was a little woman, but she could certainly handle that car. I remember it seemed to have a huge steering wheel.
There was a big, clear acrylic knob with an embedded rose attached to it. Of course, there was also no power steering, power brakes or automatic transmission, but when she needed to make a turn, she could make that wheel turn on a dime. It was a bare bones ride- no cup holders, power windows, cruise control, heated steering wheel or any accessories we enjoy and often take for granted today.
It was basic transportation.
Recently, my wife and I took a road trip with our sons and their families. All three families were driving separately, but left at the same time for our destination.
As we drove, we enjoyed many accessories that Grandma would have found frivolous.
While on the road my wife sent text messages to our family, face timed with our grandchildren, listened to satellite radio and enjoyed the climate control on her side of the car. I connected with OnStar to receive directions, check road conditions and approximate our arrival times.
While I drove, I could only smile thinking about Grandma’s old Chevrolet and how far our cars and traveling have come from 1951 to 2021.
I saw a 1951 Chevy like Grandma’s recently at a car show. It reminded me of lots of good memories traveling with her to the bank, the A&P, the dry goods store. Life has changed and we are in a much different place than 1951. My grandchildren would have no idea what a dry goods store was unless they “Google” it.
But I remember.
I remember the trips, the talks, laughing and her always being in a hurry to get back home to return to work. But it wasn’t all work. Occasionally, when there was a little extra cash, we would stop at the Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone and that was a fun memory.
Today as I drive my car and enjoy my accessories, I often think of Grandma.
She would think a heated steering wheel is absolutely ridiculous.
Likewise if I attached a large acrylic knob with an embedded rose on my steering wheel today, my grands would think I’d flipped out. However, at that time and in the context, it all made sense.
I can’t help but think about my grandchildren and wonder what kind of cars and accessories will be available to them in 70 years. I’m sure they will have things to remember and smile about too.
I hope they too remember their trips with us, the laughing, the talking and also our trips to the Dairy Queen for ice cream.
Grandma has been gone for many years, but I still often think of her when I am driving. Grandma I still remember the talks, the laughs and the trips.
The car I drive today you would consider extravagant and frivolous. But in my mind, I’m still riding in Grandma’s Chevrolet.